The Federal Higher Court docket, Abuja, on Monday purchased the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) to immediately release the travel passport of previous governor of Rivers, Dr Peter Odili.
Providing judgment in a match on breach of basic rights submitted by Odili, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the NIS had no legal justification to seize the former governor’s passport.
Justice Ekwo also declared that the seizure of Odili’s passport was contemptuous and constituted an infringement on his basic legal rights.
He also made an get restraining the NIS from even more arresting, intimidating or harassing Odili.
The decide also purchased the NIS to compose a letter of apology to Odili for embarrassing him in the manner in which his passport was seized.
He additional that the declare by the NIS that Odili’s passport was seized simply because he was on EFCC enjoy list was accomplished in violation and disobedience of an before court docket get.
He further more said that the claim was not backed by any evidence for the courtroom to consider.
“The reason supplied by the respondent for the seizure of the passport is that he was on the enjoy record of the EFCC.
“This declare is not backed by any proof displaying that the EFCC requested the seizure of his passport.
“It is settled law that any pleading that is not backed by proof is of no effect,’’ the judge held.
Justice Ekwo also held that Odili tendered a judgment in proof exhibiting that the EFCC experienced no lawful backing to order that his passport be seized.
The judge equally dismissed the claim by the NIS that the human being who instituted the accommodate was different from the person whose passport was seized indicating it was just one and the same individual.
He claimed this was verified by evaluating the photograph on the vacation passport with the 1 on the course of action submitted in courtroom.
The court additional held that the motion of the NIS was primitive and a humiliation of Odili and that no Nigerian deserved to be taken care of in these manner regardless of class or standing.
“The journey passport is not a document that can just be taken absent from a citizen by the whims and caprices of any person.
“Such seizure will have to be carried out in rigid compliance with the law, Justice Ekwo ruled.
In accordance to him, law enforcement businesses must have an understanding of that they are to start with and foremost agents of the legislation and need to act in accordance with the law.
Odili, who was governor of Rivers from 1999 to 2007, experienced approached the court docket to challenge the seizure of his vacation passport by the NIS.
He told the court docket that his passport with variety B50031305 was seized from him on June 20 by NIS officials for undisclosed motives, shortly right after he landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Intercontinental Airport in Abuja.
He claimed the NIS experienced because refused to release the passport to him.
In an eight-paragraph affidavit to which the previous governor deposed, Odili claimed he landed at the airport from the United Kingdom wherever he experienced long gone for his regimen healthcare check out-up.
He averred that on his arrival, his vacation files had been checked and returned to him.
He included that whilst he awaited his luggage to be cleared, however, an Immigration official approached him and demanded for the passport on declare of schedule check.
Odili informed the court that he complied and handed his paperwork to the official who went away with his passport and failed to return it.
The previous governor reported that he is a law-abiding senior citizen of Nigeria that did not do nearly anything to warrant the seizure of his passport, and prayed the court to intervene in the make a difference.
He prayed the courtroom to compel the NIS to release the passport to him, and purchase a perpetual injunction halting it from even more harassing, embarrassing, overwhelming or interfering with his basic right to liberty of movement.
Odili similarly prayed the court to compel the NIS to produce a letter of apology to him for the embarrassment it brought on him.